In Act IV of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, what stylistic devices are used in the speech by Bottom that begins with "When my cue comes" and ends with "I shall sing it at...

In Act IV of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, what stylistic devices are used in the speech by Bottom that begins with "When my cue comes" and ends with "I shall sing it at her death"?

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jalden eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Shakespeare employs irony when he has Bottom say, "Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream," and use comic misquotations (what we would, today, call "Malapropisms") from 1 Corinthians, confusing the functions of each physical sense, i.e., "The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste," etc. Shakespeare uses this moment with Bottom to be the connecting moment between the "Dream" aspect of the characters' experience and the return to the "Real" world. Just as he uses Bottom as the link between the worlds of Fairy and the world of Humans (Bottom is the only human who can see and hear and relate to the fairies), he uses him here to express the waking up or transitioning from one reality to the other. It is significant, too, that Bottom remembers his dream and is able to incorporate it into his human life. Bottom is what is often called the Holy Innocent: one who is so simple that he is able to actually experience what others normally cannot due to intellectual disbelief.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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